Arch Once, Arch Twice, Arch No More
Sitting here at the RV site in East St. Louis, I have a lovely view of the Arch, Gateway to the West. OK, you got me, that is not my photo as I lifted it from the web because I am without camera until Friday when my beloved returns home from meeting his grandson. This stainless steel monument to Thomas Jefferson rises 630 feet about the ground. As a child, I visited family in St Louis almost every summer. Those trips included day trips to Six Flags over Great America, Merrimac Caverns, Busch Stadium to watch the rivals Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals and The Arch. All of the above were memorable experiences except for the 4 minute ride (which seemed to me like 4 hours) to the top of the Arch. The tram seats about 5 people, travels at 4 mph and literally rolls up the arch. I recall a narrative speech, siting the many wonders of this monument, but as I recall, it did not drown out the rattling noise and creaking sounds of expanding steel. Once you arrive at the top of the Arch, you must find your sea legs because the top sways from side to side. In order to look out the windows on either the East or the West viewing sites, you need to lay on your stomach. There's nothing worse than knowing you have to get down as soon as possible only to remember the tram awaits you. Amazingly, I experienced this tram ride once as a child and again as a newlywed. My experience the second time was not nearly as tramatic, but for different reasons. Our little trip included my in-laws and aunt and uncle from The Netherlands. Tanta Corrie, my MIL (mother-in-law's) sister, was absolutely terrified. The entire ride up the Arch she squealed with laughter, but it was more the kind of terrifying laughter that I feared would send her into a coronary at any moment. My days of riding the Arch are over.